The NFL is a league that has seen its fair share of stars come and go. Tom Brady, for example, won his fifth Super Bowl with the New England Patriots in February 2018. He left the team to join the Cleveland Browns in March 2019, but now he’s back with the Patriots.
Tom Brady is an NFL quarterback and former Super Bowl MVP. He is one of the most iconic athletes in history. He has been playing for the New England Patriots since 2001, but now he’s back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Read more in detail here: who is tom brady playing for.
It’s dubbed “The Return,” and as Week 4 of the NFL season approaches, it’s the game that everyone is talking about: Tom Brady, quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, will play his old club, the New England Patriots, at Foxborough, Massachusetts (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). With the Patriots, Brady won an unprecedented six Super Bowl championships in 20 years before winning his seventh with the Buccaneers last season.
It’s not the first time an athlete who has captivated a single fan base for decades and whose identity has been inextricably linked to a city’s culture has left and returned as a guest. However, it is rare to see this happen while an athlete is still at the top of their game, renewing and reinvigorating their careers in order to continue winning titles.
Brady’s return to Gillette Stadium on Sunday is all the more spectacular since it comes nearly precisely 20 years to the day after his first NFL start, and he’s on the verge of another milestone. Brady needs 68 passing yards to surpass Drew Brees’ NFL record of 80,291 yards (80,358).
Brady stated about New England, “I have tremendous regard and appreciation for my time there.” “I spent 20 wonderful years there… It was a fantastic period in my life.”
What was it like for other famous sportsmen to return to the areas where they started their careers and called home? Was it possible for them to keep their emotions in check? What was the reaction of the fans?
Other notable comeback games in sports are examined by ESPN writers Brian Windhorst, Greg Wyshynski, Mark Ogden, Mechelle Voepel, Rob Demovsky, and Dave Schoenfield. Jenna Laine is a writer who lives in New York City.
The decision: On July 8, 2010, ESPN broadcast “The Decision,” in which James revealed his decision to join the Miami Heat.
The date of the return is December 2, 2010.
For the first time since signing with Miami in the summer of 2010, LeBron James returned to Cleveland, guiding the Heat to a victory with 38 points.
One of the most high-profile free agency exits in American sports history happened to James. His statement went down in history, and the hatred in Cleveland was mainly blamed on it. That was, however, a perfect pretext for escalating the hate aimed against James.
Cavs supporters felt a combination of jealousy and betrayal, as Cleveland had been unable to locate a genuine in-their-prime player to place next to James for seven years, while Miami had put two next to him (Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade) in one swoop. In the team’s 2010 playoff defeat to the underdog Boston Celtics, James performed badly by his standards, at times seeming to be in a fog. James was suffering a mystery right elbow illness that showed no signs of damage on imaging, yet he was accused by some of bailing on his team knowing he would be departing shortly.
Of course, as a ruthless competitor, this was not his style. James battled with postseason pressure during that period of his career, which he repeated the following season in the Heat’s Finals. That may have had a part as well, but there was little tolerance for subtlety at the moment of unrestrained emotions.
The Heat glanced at the calendar on Dec. 2, 2010, as if it were a root canal appointment. The NBA granted Miami a reprieve by scheduling a home game the night before, allowing the Heat to arrive at the hotel after 2 a.m., when additional security was stationed and the players rushed to their rooms.
30 minutes before tipoff, the arena was almost filled, allowing the fans to boo James loudly throughout warm-ups. The Cavaliers’ game operations fueled the craze by repeatedly displaying him on the scoreboard and then showing owner Dan Gilbert go to his seat shortly before tipoff to raucous applause, as if it were a boxing fight. As everything was occurring, James shook his head and looked at the scoreboard. Gilbert had written a public letter excoriating James shortly after he announced his resignation, casting him as the anti-hero in the eyes of the fans. Moondog, the Cavs’ mascot, was dressed in a fake bulletproof vest.
The Heat bench was surrounded by security, but it didn’t stop numerous batteries from flying over to the bench. Fans used social media to coordinate chants, making insults personal and resonating. A large number of offensive placards were seized, but many more were not. James remained near the Cavs bench in the second half, attempting to talk with old teammates Mo Williams and Daniel Gibson, but they were forced to ignore him.
“It was like having your ex-girlfriend attend your wedding,” Williams said.
But James was a genius. He finished with 38 points in Miami’s 118-90 win. He shattered the spectators’ spirits in the third quarter, scoring 24 points and prancing up and down the court. The Heat were energised by the whole event. They were just 11-8 before the game, but after defeating the Cavs, they won nine consecutive games to go out to a 30-9 lead. The Cavs entered the game with a 7-10 record. They’d lose 33 of the next 34 games. Windhorst is a fictional character created by Windhorst.
Gretzky, Marty McSorley, and Mike Krushelnyski were sold to the Los Angeles Kings on Aug. 9, 1988, in exchange for center Jimmy Carson, wing Martin Gelinas, first-round draft selections in 1989, 1991, and 1993, and $15 million.
The date of the return is October 19, 1988.
In his return to Edmonton with the Los Angeles Kings in 1988, Wayne Gretzky got two assists. Sports Illustrated/Getty Images/David E. Klutho
It’s simply known as “The Trade” in Canada. Every time there’s a rumor about an NHL great being available, it’s brought up: “Hey, if the Edmonton Oilers can move Wayne Gretzky…”
The Oilers traded the 27-year-old, eight-time MVP to the Kings in a seven-player blockbuster that included choices and cash, as well as a contribution from Kings owner Bruce McNall that set Los Angeles apart from other bidders like the Vancouver Canucks.
Local leaders have petitioned the Canadian government to put an end to the trade. Fans were saddened and perplexed, first blaming Gretzky’s new wife, actress Janet Jones, for enticing him to Hollywood, and then turning their wrath on Oilers owner Peter Pocklington for “shopping” Gretzky before “selling” him to the Kings. Fans burnt Pocklington in effigy outside Edmonton’s arena after he claimed Gretzky’s emotional press conference included “alligator tears.”
Los Angeles (4-2-0) had been off to the greatest start in club history in Gretzky’s first game in Edmonton as a King. Gretzky led the team with 15 points.
The Oilers faithful regarded the night as a goodbye to The Great One that they had never had the opportunity to offer him. During the warmup skate and when the Kings took the ice before the opening faceoff, they shouted “Gretzky!” and gave him two standing ovations. A fan dressed in full L.A. Kings attire put up a banner that said “DOWN THE DRAIN WITHOUT WAYNE,” expressing his hatred for the owner who sold Gretzky.
Gretzky got two secondary assists, one on the power play and one while shorthanded, while old teammate Grant Fuhr saved four of his shots. The Kings fell to Edmonton 8-6 after trailing 3-1 after the first period.
“The first time I had to play in Edmonton, I felt like an L.A. King because it was so hard,” Gretzky said in an ESPN 30-For-30 titled “King’s Ransom.” Wyshynski (Wyshynski)
The departure: On June 11, 2009, Manchester United accepted an £80 million offer from Real Madrid for Ronaldo, a then-world-record price.
The date of the return is March 5, 2013.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game-winning goal in Real Madrid’s 2-1 victory against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Getty Images/Jasper Juinen
Cristiano Ronaldo has been adored by Manchester United fans since his move to Real Madrid in 2009. During his first spell at Old Trafford, from 2003 to 2009, the Portuguese striker established himself as a star, but he pushed his game, as well as his fame, to new heights with Real.
Ronaldo was at the peak of his powers when he returned to face United for the first time in March 2013, in the Champions League Round of 16 match, and the United crowd was desperate not only to see him, but also to show its affection for a player who had spent his final two years at the club attempting to force a move to Madrid.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who is considered as a father figure by Ronaldo, also wanted to make a particular display of his old favorite, so he told the stadium announcer to break with convention and read out the visiting team second, with Ronaldo’s name coming last.
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“Welcome back our great seven, Cristiano Ronaldo,” the announcer said as he approached Ronaldo. The stadium exploded in applause, giving him a standing ovation and singing “Viva Ronaldo” until the game began.
After the game, Ronaldo stated, “It was a fantastic night, a very emotional night, and what the fans did for me was enormous.” “That is a memory I will never forget. On the one hand, I am pleased that Madrid has advanced to the next round, but on the other hand, I am sad since it is difficult to forget this place. I played here for six years and found the folks to be very kind.”
Ferguson subsequently said that, although he wanted Ronaldo to understand how much the United fans adored him, the ruse was also intended to cause him to lose concentration and get distracted by the event. Ronaldo would go on to score the game-winning goal in Real’s 2-1 victory, a goal he declined to celebrate.
It was Ferguson’s last Champions League encounter, unbeknownst to everyone at the game, including Ronaldo. He had made a secret decision early in the season to step down at the conclusion of the season after 27 years as coach.
United tried and failed for the following eight years to get Ronaldo back to Old Trafford. It did, however, accomplish its objective in the summer of 2021. On his first game back eighteen years after making his debut for the club, he was greeted with a hero’s welcome and went on to score twice in a 4-1 victory over Newcastle. Ogden, Utah
The deal that sent Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics on Feb. 2, 2017, also sent center Stefanie Dolson and Kahleah Copper to Chicago, as well as the Mystics’ 2017 first-round draft choice, No. 2 overall.
The date of the return is May 24, 2017.
Delle Donne grew to love Chicago so much that she named her dog “Wrigley” and became a Cubs fan. She was a key member of the Chicago Sky’s 2014 WNBA Finals team, as well as three previous postseason appearances. She is the only Sky player to get the WNBA’s Most Valuable Player award.
Delle Donne wants to return to the East Coast after four years in Chicago with the club that selected her second overall in 2013. She lobbied for a transfer to Washington so she could be closer to her family in Delaware, particularly her sister Lizzie, who has cerebral palsy and is deaf and blind. If the deal didn’t materialize, Delle Donne was prepared to sit out the 2017 season.
Delle Donne was welcomed mainly by high-pitched chanting when she returned to Chicago as a member of the Mystics on May 24, 2017. The game was scheduled for a student day matinee at 11:30 a.m. Kids were thrilled to accompany the songs played on the speaker system and to watch themselves displayed on the Jumbotron at Allstate Arena, the Sky’s former home. It’s a long way from a hostile atmosphere.
Elena Delle Donne scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in her debut game with the Mystics in Chicago in 2017. NBAE/Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images/Getty Images/G
“It almost seemed like a whole other lifetime flying here, going to the stadium,” Delle Donne remarked on the first day of her Sky career. “Things change and you go on in strange ways. However, returning to a location where you spent four years as a resident may be a strange and frightening experience.”
Delle Donne quipped that it was maybe good luck that her comeback coincided with a school holiday.
She said, “The youngsters would cheer for anything.” “When I was performing here, though, I noticed a lot of very wonderful supporters. I offered them hugs because they were so nice.”
The Mystics won 82-67 thanks to Delle Donne’s 21 points and eight rebounds. Delle Donne earned another MVP award and her first WNBA championship in 2019 as a result of the move. In addition, she added of her sister’s closeness, “It’s wonderful to have Lizzie so near since, as many of you know, I can’t contact her or FaceTime her. During the summer, I’ll have a lot of opportunities to visit her.”
Copper and Dolson, meanwhile, continue to play for Chicago, which has progressed to the WNBA playoffs and will face Connecticut on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN 2). Voepel’s
The trade: On August 7, 2008, the Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets in exchange for a 2009 third-round selection. On Aug. 18, 2009, he signed with the Minnesota Vikings after one season in New York.
The date of the return is November 1, 2009.
In his return to Lambeau Field in 2009, Brett Favre fired four touchdown passes for the Vikings in a 38-26 victory. Mike Roemer/AP Photo
In August 2008, the Green Bay Packers traded Favre to the New York Jets for a purpose. They didn’t want to have to deal with him.
The Packers refused to back down when Favre came out of retirement that summer. They were all set to welcome Aaron Rodgers into the fold. They were also aware that Favre wanted to join the Vikings and even accused their NFC North opponent of meddling. As a result, when they eventually reached an agreement, they struck identical agreements with the Jets and Buccaneers. They sent Favre to New York because they knew he liked Tampa Bay.
He retired and then unretired to play for the Vikings after a year in exile with the Jets. In the 2009 season, he had to face his old club twice. For Packers supporters, the first one was terrible enough, but this one was in Minnesota. Favre returned to Lambeau Field less than a month after defeating the Packers in the Metrodome.
Favre’s return to Green Bay with the Vikings drew the expected reaction: Many in the 71,213-strong audience booed, making it the biggest attendance for a regular-season game at Lambeau Field to that time. Favre had anticipated the reception.
“A Packer fan cheers the Packers first,” Favre remarked after leading the Packers to a 38-26 victory with four touchdowns and no interceptions. “I hope everyone who stuck around until the finish thought, ‘I hate that fool plays for another team, but he can still play,’” he said.
When Favre was welcomed back into the Packers family six years later for his induction into the team’s Hall of Fame and to have his No. 4 retired, he stood in the middle of Lambeau Field and declared, possibly to the delight of the fans, “I’ll say this, I’ve also sprinted out of that tunnel.” “I’d much prefer walk out of that tunnel right there,” he remarked as he headed toward the home team’s entrance. Demovsky’s words
Harper signed a $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies on March 2, 2019.
The date of the return is April 2, 2019.
Bryce Harper discusses his return to Washington after signing with the Philadelphia Phillies in the summer.
Harper, baseball’s most anticipated prospect, debuted in the majors with the Nationals at the age of 19 in 2012, winning Rookie of the Year and leading the team to its first division championship and playoff berth since the club relocated to Washington, D.C. Even yet, his seven-year stay with the Nationals wasn’t always easy.
At the age of 22, he hit.330 and led the National League with 42 home runs, 118 runs, a.460 on-base percentage, and a.649 slugging percentage. If he hadn’t injured his knee sliding on first base in August, he could have earned another MVP Award in 2017.
However, there were injuries, a brawl with reliever Jonathan Papelbon, and the usual postseason failures (losses in the NLDS in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017). In 2018, his last season with the Nationals was the most disappointing of his career. Harper struggled on defense and batted just.249 as the club ended 82-80.
Although the Nationals allegedly offered Harper a 10-year, $300 million deal in September — an offer handed to him in an envelope during a rain delay, according to the Washington Post — it became apparent that he would test free agency. It seemed more like the Nationals were attempting to salvage face in public by at least “trying” to re-sign him.
On #MLBNShowcase, Bryce Harper was welcomed with a chorus of boos upon his return to D.C. pic.twitter.com/bxYPngzhPI
April 2, 2019 — MLB Network (@MLBNetwork)
Instead, Harper agreed to a 13-year contract for $330 million with the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies played the Nationals in their fourth game of the season. More than 35,000 fans booed when the Nationals aired a video tribute to Harper before the game, then booed again during Harper’s first at-bat, causing the game to be paused for more than a minute.
He was struck out by Max Scherzer.
After the game, Harper would remark, “It’s a bit strange coming back here and being booed.” “But it’s the same for me as going to another stadium and facing someone like Max, who is lights out, electrifying, or going to New York and being booed. For me, it’s the same thing.”
Harper then singled off Scherzer before hitting a 458-foot home drive into the second level in right-center against Jeremy Hellickson in the eighth inning. He tossed his bat toward the Nationals’ dugout, bringing the Phillies’ 8-2 victory to a close.
“Bryce is clearly a divisive character,” said Ryan Zimmerman, a long-time Nationals first baseman. “I don’t mean it in a derogatory manner. Whether he likes it or not, that’s how he’s been since he was 12 years old or whatever.”
The ultimate exclamation point, though, would belong to the Nationals, who would go on to win the World Series sans Harper. Schoenfield’s
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